– by Anchalee Kongrut, January 20, 2016, Bangkok Post
Photo: Rotary Club Lampang
Despite the cool weather, the period between late January to March is not a pleasant time for villagers in Lampang and the other northern provinces. It is the time that haze – caused by the swathes of smoke from forest fires and the burning of agricultural waste – blankets the region.
Haze is pollution, irritation, and also is severely damaging to health. Last year, schools in several northern provinces needed to close temporarily and hospitals saw a rise in patients with respiratory problems – 55,000 in Chiang Mai alone. Haze also hurts tourism and related-businesses, while flights to Chiang Mai sometimes faced delays and even cancellation due to poor visibility.
The solution to the haze problem is easier said than done. Forcing farmers to stop clearing their land also means stopping them from starting the new growing season. Hence, all residents can do really is brace themselves for the haze with protectivemasks or, if possible, move away from the area temporarily.
But for Boonkoom Boonyasopath, energy engineer and member of the board of the Rotary Club Lampang, the solution may lie in a machine called the “Biomass Shredder”, which helps farmers get rid of farm waste without having to burn it.
Boonkoom Boonyasopath the energy engineer and board member of Rotary Club Lampang who invented the ‘biomass shredder’ to reduce open burning in farm area.
“Like you and I, farmers do not want to burn agricultural waste because they too need to inhale the smoke. But they don’t have a choice,” said Boonkoom, who’s also a founder of BKE Combustion Controls, a company that exports industrialcombustion machines.